Light Capture & Utilization
Natural photosynthesis begins with the capture and absorption of sunlight. That light energy is then subsequently transported and used to split charges. The charges are further transferred to catalytic sites to perform the fuel forming reactions. SOFI scientists aim to convert the sun’s energy into clean fuels by following nature’s photosynthetic blueprint.
SOFI researchers are using a variety of state-of-the-art methods, e.g. molecular sensitizers, nanoarchitectures, organic dyes, semiconductors, and plasmonic devices, to enhance the capture and utilization of light energy. Artificial light-harvesting systems are being developed to span the entire solar spectrum that is useful for solar fuel production (400 nm − 1000 nm). Novel designs are being implemented to efficiently transport the absorbed energy to artificial reaction centers that then separate the negative and positive charges. The photoinduced electron transfer events can then drive the various fuel forming reactions pursued by SOFI researchers.